Potential Tailgate Issues on Some Ford Trucks

Laguna Hills, CA – Dec. 4, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2017-2019 Super Duty F-250, F-350 and F-450 trucks with an electric tailgate latch release switch mounted in the tailgate handle.

The potential number of vehicles affected is estimated at 231,664.

The Defect

According to Ford, listed trucks with an electric tailgate latch may be susceptible to water damage, possibly causing the tailgate to unlatch. In these cases, water in either the release-switch or an in-line connector resulted in a short circuit, opening the tailgate. An unintended open tailgate could lead to unrestrained cargo falling out into the road, creating a risk for both the driver and others. 

Ford estimates that about 3% of 2017-2019 Super Duty F-250, F-350 and F-450 trucks are affected, all of them from Ford’s Kentucky Assembly Plant.

Timeline of Events

On October 12, 2018 NHTSA opened a Preliminary Evaluation following reports of unintended tailgate opening on a 2017 model year vehicle. The Evaluation found five cases of the issue, as well as two similar reports made to Transport Canada.

Ford began its own in-depth investigation and responded to NHTSA’s Information Request on December 20, 2018. As a part of their investigation, Ford analyzed field data, as well as employee vehicles. The company decided that the issue was not an unreasonable safety risk , due to the low rate of reports and several cases where the tailgate opening had turned out to be caused by a driver inadvertently using properly functioning features. Further monitoring found more instances of short circuiting caused by water damage.        

On November 25, 2019, Ford approved field action. 

The Solution

Ford plans to notify owners of the affected vehicles by mail and has notified dealers. Dealers are expected to add jumper pigtails to the tailgate/frame wiring harnesses. The addition should isolate power and ground circuits and prevent short circuiting. Ford will be providing a general reimbursement plan for vehicle owners.  

An updated tailgate release switch and wiring harness jumper were used in 2020 model year production.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesPotential Tailgate Issues on Some Ford Trucks

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